Updated: 3 Oct 2018
Next update: 2 Oct 2019

The question on height was: ’What is your height?’ The question on weight was: ‘What is your weight, measured when wearing light clothing?’ The actual calculation of BMI is weight divided by height squared. Body mass index is the most commonly used method of determining the degree of obesity. Body mass index = 30 kg/m² is the internationally approved limit for obesity.

Data material:

The postal survey Health Behaviour and Health among the Finnish Adult Population (AVTK) was conducted yearly from 1978 to 2014 (www.thl.fi/avtk).

The Regional Health and Welfare Study (ATH) yearly since 2012. (www.thl.fi/ath)


Share of obese persons has increased among persons aged 20 to 64

The percentage of those with a body mass index of 30 kg/m² or more, calculated on the basis of self-reported weight and height, has increased continuously since the late 1980s. At the beginning of the 2010s, the percentage of obese people was over double that at the beginning of the 1980s. Over the 2010s, the share of obese people has still grown a little.

The percentage of obese women was slightly lower than that of men, on average, in the 1990s and early 2000s, but from 2004, differences between the sexes have been minor in this regard. In 2016, the share of obese persons among those aged 20 to 64 was 22 per cent for men and 16 per cent for women.

When interpreting the results it should be noted that the sample size in the 2016 data collection was slightly smaller than in previous years. The small sample size is more prone to random variation, which can affect the results, especially in groups with low response activity (typically younger respondents and men).